Published in Transportation

Chinese release a fully autonomous electric car

by on05 December 2022

In the shops in 2023

A startup called Jidu Automotive, backed by Chinese AI giant Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely, officially released an autonomous electric car.

Dubbed the Robo-01 Lunar Edition, the car will go on sale in 2023 for $55,000.

It has two lidars, a 5-millimetre-range radar, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and 12 high-definition cameras and AI-assisted voice recognition, with voice response speeds within 700 milliseconds, based around its Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip.

Jidu has done its best to market the car as a robot rather than just a vehicle. Company CEO Joe Xia believes the car will become the standard for self-driving cars. Which we really hope does not come back to bite him.

It is unclear how autonomous the car will really be. In January 2022 Baidu and Jidu said the car would have Level 4 autonomous driving capability, which does not require a human driver.

The press release made no mention of Level 4, saying only that the car offered "high-level autonomous driving. "

In September 2022, Baidu cofounder and CEO Robin Li noted that lower levels of autonomy shield car companies from liability in the event of a crash because the driver is expected to be in control. With Level 4, the manufacturer of the car or the operator of the "robotaxi" service using the car would be to blame.

Baidu claims its self-driving package, Apollo has Level 4 capabilities including a Point-to-Point Autopilot, designed to handle highway, city street, and parking scenarios. Jidu is conducting further tests in Beijing and Shanghai to ensure that its Point-to-Point Autopilot will cover all major cities in China.

Chinese regulations do allow Level 4 in robotaxis that operate within designated geofenced areas, and Apollo has already shown what it can do in Baidu's Apollo Go robotaxis, which have delivered more than 1 million rides in at least 10 cities across China.

Baidu recently unveiled its latest autonomous robotaxi, the Level-4 Apollo RT6, which has a detachable steering wheel. The absence of a steering wheel is a “statement”, and it frees up cabin space for extra seating or even desktops, gaming consoles, and vending machines.

"Theoretically, the half-moon of a steering wheel can fold up, paving the way for a cockpit seat with no window obstructions, once full self-driving is allowed on China's roads."


Last modified on 05 December 2022
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